Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bionic Woman—Second Chances (Pilot)

I rarely think remakes are a good idea. I was appalled when they decided to redo Battlestar Galactica. When I finally gave in and watched it, though, I got sucked in (though I do have some issues with that show) and had to grudgingly admit it was a good chunk of television. So when I heard they were going to remake Bionic Woman, I was equally dubious, and then when I found out it was being remade by David Eick, I decided to give it a chance.

It seems a little odd, really, to remake Bionic Woman. After all, it was a spinoff. So why didn't Eick decide to start with The Six Million Dollar Man? Maybe he just prefers to rework shows that weren't quite as hot the first time around? I suppose I shouldn't complain about that detail, since this way we get a show with a female lead (Michelle Ryan). A British female lead, faking an American accent, which seems to be a trend for NBC this season. See Journeyman. Okay, he's not female, but he's definitely faking an American accent. Like Dan, Jaime is going to have a job of work hiding her accent and her freaky new powers. And it was a little disconcerting seeing Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff, playing Sarah, the first Bionic Woman--wait I thought that was Lindsay Wagner) and Chief Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) popping up. Oh, and that guy from Firefly (Mark Sheppard). Freaky. They must be filming in Canada.

Anyway... This show struck me very much like Battlestar Galactica does. It seems solid, and involving, with decent writing and good acting and lots of intrigue and menace lurking around the edges. What it's missing, though, is a sense of humor. Again, like Battlestar, the unrelenting grim seriousness is probably going to make it hard for me to relate to this show on a regular basis. Also, I expect the writers will follow a similar arc, with the characters being so gray and flawed that it's hard to really identify with any of them, another issue I have with Battlestar. I like my heroes heroic, thanks. Jaime didn't get much characterization in this hour, other than to go from insecure waitress with incredibly bratty sister to kickass chick with superpowers. And her boyfriend--wow. Talk about a control freak. "Look, you got broken so I fixed you! Oh, sorry I didn't ask first." Yeah, I don't like him. Although I have to give him (minor) props for having sex with Jaime after her transformation, since she obviously could have crushed him to a painful and messy death with her bionic thighs. Kind of wish she would have, actually.

So I see some things here that might make this show not a favorite in the long run. But since I've got nothing else on the schedule for Wednesday nights, I'll probably give it a chance.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Yes, I know I'm late. Believe it or not, I can only watch so much TV at a time, and Monday night I burned out after Chuck and Heroes. But due to the magic of the DVR, I can start commenting on some other pilots I took a look at.

Journeyman appears to be the kind of show that I want to watch with about half my attention while doing something else a bit more interesting. Which doesn't bode well for me for long-term devotion, but I need shows like that. You know, the ones you just flirt with but don't have a serious relationship with. So that's fine.

First, Kevin McKidd is damn hot. Not as hot as he was in Rome, and not nearly as hot as he is when they let him cut loose with that gorgeous Scottish burr, but still damn hot. The show, though, strikes me so far as a bit mediocre. Several time travel cliches are trotted out--I think I complained back during Day Break about that whole using a sports event to indicate time travel thing--just to be sure we know our intrepid hero is traveling in time. And of course he bounces about in time to Put Right What Once Went Wrong, a la Sam Beckett, but without the skunk streak and the endearingly obnoxious hologram companion. Instead he has an ex-fiancee who pops up and apparently knows more about what he's doing than he does. And he actually tells his wife what's going on. Dude, nobody who time travels ever just tells everybody. They'll think you're nuts. Fortunately, the wife in this case is pretty understanding. Well, in this episode at least. I imagine, "I was back in time saving a puppy," is going to wear thin after a while.

And lastly, what is the deal with Moon Bloodgood getting stuck with guys who travel in time? I mean seriously. That poor girl.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


House starts out weird tonight, and while I'm completely in favor of the whole vintage Han shot first Star Wars thing, the weird handheld camera push-ins that look like they came out of The Office I could do without. Seriously, that stuff gives me motion sickness.

Oh, and then a building blows up, with Miss I Don't Really Like Star Wars inside. Not to be judgmental, but that's what you get when you voice that kind of blasphemy. But she survives, and makes it to Princeton Plainsboro, where House is jamming on his electric guitar in his office. She has a fever, and it seems like she was hallucinating before the explosion. If I ever have hallucinations I hope they're more interesting than Office-like push-ins.

Cuddy isn't happy with House--so what's new?--because he hasn't hired a new team yet. (Remember how everybody quit last season?) House sets out to prove he doesn't need a team.

In the midst of the usual medical mystery, Wilson kidnaps House's guitar and holds it for ransom--he'll give it back if House interviews candidates to hire. Seems like everybody wants him to bring on some actual doctors instead of the janitor he's recruited to bounce ideas off. House retaliates by threatening to delete telenovelas off Wilson's TiVo. Then Wilson hurts the guitar so House kidnaps Wilson's patient. In the end, House finds his way to a heartbreaker of a twist ending, and finally relents and interviews a roomful of candidates for his new team. And the guitar returns happily intact, which is a relief.

I've missed the lighthearted House/Wilson interaction and really enjoyed it tonight. Oddly, though I, didn't miss the rest of the team that much. I'm sure I'll enjoy them all when they come back, but in the meantime House the loner with Wilson nipping at his heels is plenty of entertainment for me.

Bones—The Widow's Son in the Windshield

Tonight's mystery involves a skull which bounces off (or is thrown from) an overpass into a windshield. The skull turns out to belong to a concert violinist who liked to sleep with older women. I like him already. Well, except he's dead, and he's been cooked and had his face eaten off by cannibals. Which really is not what you want to be watching while you're eating a grilled chicken sandwich, let me tell you. Obviously during hiatus I forgot the cardinal Bones rule, which is never to eat while watching.

Anyway. The skull contains stone particles that lead the team to a bank vault filled with museum pieces that seem to be related to various occult subjects. Among these is a silver skeleton with various parts replaced by real bones, one of which is also from the dead violinist. Other parts, though, are from other people. It looks like someone is assembling the skeleton with each bone coming from a different body. After they're cooked and chewed on by the cannibal, of course. Which turns out to be cannibals, one of whom is a really creepy kid with a diamond tooth. Hodgins makes connections to the Illuminati, and as the evidence mounts, it seems he might be on the right track, after all, as there are many parallels to secret societies.

In the meantime, Hodgins and Angela search for Angela's mystery husband so they can have her previous marriage annulled. Booth, disturbed by Brennan's sudden habit of not calling him in on cases, tries to get to the bottom of her withdrawal. Brennan blames it on Zack's absence, while Angela feels it has to do with Brennan's unacknowledged feelings for Booth. Booth thinks it has to do with his not telling Zack not to go to Iraq. Brennan refuses to hire anyone to replace Zack, which turns out to be fortunate, because Zack comes back mid-episode, with a buzz-cut and something of a mystery behind why he was sent home from Iraq.

In atypical fashion, tonight's episode ends without a resolution. Jason, aka creepy cannibal diamond tooth guy, is murdered in his cell (or perhaps committed suicide, but the death is ritualistic enough I'm betting on murdered), but the bones bear the marks of another person's teeth, so the underlying cabal or whatever it turns out to be remains to be discovered. It's my understanding this case will play itself out through the entire season, which is a neat twist to add to the show. I'm looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

Overall, I really enjoyed this premiere. The show picked up the loose threads from last season nicely, and the multi-season arc with the silver skeleton looks like it's going to be fun. The character interplay continues to be fun, with some new undercurrents between Booth and Cam, and a sightly elevated level of sexual tension between Booth and Brennan. The latter could be too cloying if played too hard, but in this episode it's cute and fun to watch. Hopefully the rest of the season will be as engaging as this very enjoyable premiere.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Heroes—Four Months Later

When last we saw our Heroes, they'd just stopped New York City from exploding. Baddie Sylar had escaped, while good guy Hiro had dropped into feudal Japan and the Petrelli brothers had gone "boom" in the stratosphere.

As we open, Mohinder is speechifying about the virus that killed his sister, and made Molly sick. A mysterious bald fellow offers Mohinder a job with the Company. Which is good because that's what Mohinder was after.

Maya and Alejandro run away from a big truck. These must be some new folks. As if the cast weren't big enough already... Oh, and they speak Spanish so yay! More subtitles. They're wanted for murder and are making their way to the US border. They're reading the Senior Suresh's book and hoping to find a cure. Apparently Maya kills people when she's separated from Alejandro. (Bleeding eyes! Cool!) That's not fun. No wonder she wants a cure.

Claire has moved with her family to Southern California, where she's getting ready to start her Junior year of high school while staying in deep cover to hide from the Company. Also, her hair is slightly less annoying. But she still likes to dork around needlessly with her powers. Which is noticed by West, a classmate who seems to take a shine to her. Or maybe he just likes her slightly less annoying hair. She has a hard time remaining inconspicuous, as does her dad, who goes badass on his nerdy boss at the faux Kinkos. Mom continues to be a little whacky, and holds Mr. Muggles at the table, which seems unsanitary. Mr. Bennet is teaming up with Mohinder in his Taking Down the Company project.

We revisit Hiro's arrival in 1671 Japan, where he's in some trouble. There's a solar eclipse, and Hiro uses his powers to teleport out of danger. One of the warriors is Hiro's hero Kensei, whom Hiro is ecstatic to meet. Elsewhere, Ando and Hiro's dad discuss Hiro's disappearance. The symbol pops up again, this time in what appears to be a threat against Mr. Nakamura. Back in the past, Kensei turns out to be a weenie-looking British guy. Surprise! He's also a mercenary and a lush, not a hero. And Hiro's interference has apparently put history off track. That can't be good.

Matt Parkman continues his police work, trying to defuse a hostage situation in Manhattan. Dude, he kinda went badass during the hiatus. I approve. Except it's not a real hostage situation--it's a simulation. And he's finally gotten his promotion to detective. Molly seems to have joined his family, and she's having some issues with bad dreams. But he's split up with his wife. That makes me sad. Molly's drawing pictures with the symbol and lots of scary eyes. And she really, really doesn't want to talk about it. Oh, and Matt apparently left his wife to move in with Mohinder. No comment, though I titter. He uses his telepathy to eavesdrop on Molly's dreams. A Big Bad approacheth, presumably the one Molly hinted at last season.

Nathan Petrelli has a scary beard and is hanging out with his mom in Peter's old apartment and drinking a lot. Mom says Peter's dead, but Nathan says he's not. Nathan tells Mom she's evil and throws her out. Nice to know those Petrellis haven't gotten any less dysfunctional during hiatus. Angela receives a picture with the symbol on it, just as Mr. Nakamura did--portending her death, as well, I assume. She and Mr. Nakamura meet on the pigeon-balcony of yore to compare death threats. Mr. Nakamura hangs around, and for his trouble is flung off a building by a guy in a hoodie.

In Cork, Ireland, we meet some more unfamiliar folks who are poking around a bunch of transport containers looking for one in particular. But it's empty. Oh, except for a guy in the back. Who happens to be Peter, half-naked and chained to the corner, wearing the symbol, and having amnesia. And a haircut. Again, I approve.

So far I'm most interested in the Petrelli storyline. Hiro's travel to the past isn't doing much for me. Mr. Bennet being badass was quite nice, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with his and Mohinder's plans to bring down the Company. I don't think adding even more characters to an already crowded cast is the best idea, and frankly tonight's episode had way too many subtitles. But with Peter half-naked and chained up, I can forgive quite a lot.


The season premiere of another show with Adam Baldwin fills me with both happiness and trepidation. Happiness because hey, Adam Baldwin. Trepidation because dammit his last three shows have been canceled prematurely. And this makes me sad.

Anyway, we'll see how Chuck goes.

The titular character of this new NBC series is not Adam Baldwin, but some nerdy type who's much younger than Mr. Baldwin and not nearly as hot. While he's crashing and burning at a party, some rather hotter, blood-covered chap engages in nefarious operations at what appears to be a government facility. So what does Blood-Covered Boy have to do with Nerdy Man? Well, with what appears to be his dying breath, after being shot by Mr. Baldwin--who is, yes, still hot--he sends a text message to Chuck. Appears they were old gaming buddies back in the text RPG days. Though honestly neither of them looks old enough to have kicked it quite that old school. Chuck's response to the text message puts a bunch of top-secret info into Chuck's head. Which helps him avoid cops but makes him a target of both the CIA and the NSA, who seem not to like each other very much. Of course, with all that supr-sekrit stuff in his head, Chuck is of value to both organizations, and so in the end they opt to leave him alive and use his brain and all the stuff inside it to their own advantage.

Directed by McG, of Supernatural fame (and I think he had something to do with Charlie's Angels or something), the pilot proceeds at a nice pace, more comedy than drama. Chuck is endearing, and the NSA/CIA folk are just campy enough to fit the overall tone without being too over-the-top. Well, at least not any more over-the-top than any of the rest of the show. Overall, an engaging and well-executed pilot.